LONDON, Nov. 30, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- McKayResearch released a new report: COVID Catalyst: 'The Impact of COVID-19 on Industry 4.0'. Focussing on three core Industry 4.0 technologies – 3D printing, robotics, and the Industrial Internet of Things – it evaluates how COVID-19 has accelerated the adoption of digital technologies as firms are forced to think creatively to overcome the challenges of the pandemic era including a limited workforce, global supply chain dependencies, and new health and safety restrictions.
Digital transformation through Industry 4.0 technologies had already gathered momentum prior to COVID-19, with the market expected to exceed $200 billion over the next five years. However, the pandemic has catalysed this phenomenon, as offices, factories, health facilities, and other workspaces, have all sought to function throughout multiple lockdowns.
For example, 3D printing has been instrumental to the pandemic response, highlighting how it has moved beyond prototyping into first-run production. Traditional supply chains struggled to maintain the flow of essential goods and 3D printing has proven an effective alternative, with additive manufacturers stepping in to produce everything from pharmaceuticals to PPE.
Industrial robotics has also seen rising demand, with robots becoming 'essential workers' and assisting healthcare workers in routine tasks such as disinfecting, taking temperatures remotely, interacting with patients, and delivering meals. According to Danail Stoyanov, Professor of Robot Vision at University College London, "the pandemic has set the ground for similar capabilities in numerous other settings – especially in healthcare – with remote swabbing, remote diagnosis and assessment, and even remote intervention being possibilities that may emerge."
Business leaders are interested in how connected devices could facilitate contact tracing, by identifying those exposed to an infected person in the workplace. Some wearable options emit sounds if people stand too close to each other, and also allow for managers to review location history records to better understand which colleagues have come into contact with positive cases.
Principal and founder of McKayResearch, James McKay, states "we predict that these changing behaviours in industrial, business, and personal spaces will outlast the current crisis, paving the way to a future in which digital channels are central to every upstream and downstream interaction, from suppliers to end consumers."
McKayResearch is a London-based, independent market intelligence consultancy specialising in technology and investment trend analysis and custom research. Informed by our multi-sector expertise, our mission is to deliver broader data, deeper perspectives, and richer insights on which to base decision-making.
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